Johnny Carson’s 30-plus-year reign arsenic late-night TV’s king hosting “The Tonight Show” exerted tremendous power implicit the hosts who followed him, who behaved arsenic if reaching that “throne” was the pinnacle of show-business success, battling implicit it accordingly.
Trevor Noah’s determination to walk distant from “The Daily Show,” pursuing James Corden announcing his plans to permission CBS’ “Late Late Show” adjacent year, indicates that for a newer procreation of comedians, reaching the late-night perch is nary longer needfully considered a beingness sentence.
The nonstop heirs to Carson, David Letterman and Jay Leno, intelligibly saw “The Tonight Show” arsenic the astir coveted prize successful TV comedy. The 3rd subordinate of the trio who ascended arsenic portion of the late-night displacement aft Carson bid everyone “A precise heartfelt goodnight” successful 1992, Conan O’Brien, exhibited the aforesaid workhorse mentality, hanging astir (albeit successful antithetic venues), similar his idol Letterman, for much than 3 decades.
Those who took the baton walk from that trio, spiritually if not literally, seemingly stay arsenic committed to their seats, with Jimmy Kimmel precocious extending his ABC contract done a 23rd season, and Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon ensconced astatine CBS and NBC, respectively.
Yet that reflects a mindset rooted successful an earlier epoch of television, wherever radical were perceived to beryllium creatures of habit, going to furniture watching Carson twelvemonth aft year, careless of who the guests were oregon however galore weeks of abrogation helium took toward the extremity of his run.
In that sense, “Saturday Night Live,” portion a somewhat antithetic animal, represents a awesome of the inertia that ruled tv erstwhile it made its debut during Gerald Ford’s administration, plugging caller faces into the machinery but rolling onward arsenic the amusement prepares to launch its 48th season.
Still, having taken the reins from Jon Stewart 7 years ago, Noah made wide helium inactive has comedic hills to ascent that don’t see sitting down a desk.
“After 7 years, I consciousness similar it’s time,” helium said. “I realized there’s different portion of my beingness I privation to transportation connected exploring.”
On the positive side, much turnover successful latenight volition make opportunities for caller voices and divers talent, astatine a clip erstwhile determination has been immoderate retrenchment successful latenight bid aft everyone seemed to beryllium piling into the boat.
Notably, the caller procreation of latenight endowment is dominated by those who got their starts moving connected Stewart’s mentation of “The Daily Show,” including Colbert, perennial Emmy victor John Oliver, Noah, and Samantha Bee.
After a clip successful the wilderness Stewart has settled connected his mentation of a 2nd act, 1 that has included plentifulness of activism for causes helium believes successful – highligted by his advocacy connected behalf of veterans – arsenic good arsenic a amusement for Apple TV+. Letterman and Leno, too, haven’t emulated Carson’s prime to genuinely discontinue erstwhile helium near “Tonight.”
Where Noah and Corden spell from present remains to beryllium seen. Compared to the epoch of precocious nighttime that Carson defined, though, we’ve moved into a antithetic crippled of thrones.